Deuteronomy 32:28-30 reveal the heart of God’s complaint against His people.
Deuteronomy 32:28-30 (NKJV) “For they (Israel) are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had surrendered them?”
Israel would eventually reach a place where they would completely lack all wisdom and understanding, if only they would have considered where they were heading. If only they opened their eyes! Imagine one enemy soldier chasing a thousand Israelite soldiers, or two enemy soldiers chasing ten thousand – how could that possibly happen? The LORD would surrendered them to their enemies as a form of extremely severe discipline.
But although Israel would be severely disciplined, in His grace God would not extinguish them, God would show compassion upon His people (Deuteronomy 32:36). This reminds me of the passage in:
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV) “Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
The rest of this chapter details the way God would take vengeance upon the nations that God used as instrument of judgment on Israel – they thought it was their strength and their gods, but it wasn’t. There’s only one Rock, and there’s only one God (Deuteronomy 32:39).
The LORD would take vengeance upon His adversaries (Deuteronomy 32:43). I can’t help but think of:
Zechariah 2:8 (NKJV) “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.’”
I know, I know, we sound like broken records, saying the same thing over and over and over again, but as my pastor used to say, “Repetition teaches a donkey.” (that’s me) Moses once again commands us to obey God’s law, His Word, and to make sure we teach it to our children.
In our reading through the Old Testament we’re not only on the brink of the Promised-Land, we’re also on the brink of Moses’ death. Just like his brother Aaron it was time for him to be gathered to his people (Deuteronomy 32:50). I’ve always loved this way these passaged describe the passing of a believer, how we will be reconciled with our loved ones who have gone on before us (1 Samuel 12:23). This is the ultimate ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
I will see my dad again, my father in law, mother in law, I think of other family members and dear friends from church…even though I want to finish my race with joy, I DO, I really do look forward to that day. Not only will I be gathered to God (John 14:3) I will be gathered to “my people.”
Moses would be able to see the Promised Land, but because of the incident recorded in Numbers 20:7-13 when he lost his temper in front of the people, He would not be allowed to enter in.
This has always struck fear in my heart. “O Lord, help me when I’m tempted to sin in anger.”
Am I really ready for the return of the Lord? He can come at any time, even today, but if He doesn’t…I won’t ever regret living with that genuine possibility permeating my every day. We must not only be waiting for His return, we must be watching for His return! (Luke 12:35, 37) we must always be ready!
Luke 12:40 (NKJV) “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
If we spend our lives living in the light of the Lord’s imminent return, we will serve Him faithfully now, and be graciously rewarded then.
Luke 12:43–44 (NKJV) “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”
But if people say in their hearts, “Ah, Jesus isn’t coming anytime soon,” they will lose that spiritual edge and leverage and inevitably begin to mistreat people, get caught up in the appetites of the flesh – that lack of spiritual sobriety can even lead to a life of drunkenness. When Jesus comes, or that person dies the Bible describes Christ’s judgment as “cutting him in two.” (Imagine that) This is a vivid picture of the judgment of the half-hearted hypocrite.
Luke (again) goes back to the place of punishment for the wicked. The more a person knows but chooses to suppress the Scriptures, in disobedient unbelief, the more that person will suffer. Just as there are degrees of reward in heaven, there are also degrees of punishment in hell. Make peace with God before it’s too late (Luke 12:57-59).
Sometimes being a committed Christian creates divisions in families; don’t be surprised by this or let it make you stumble. Hold your ground – love them, but love Jesus more; let there be no rival thrones, and prayerfully one day they too will follow Him. Sadly, over the years I’ve seen many Christians “undone” by a family member’s unbelief. Jesus warns us in advance, so we won’t stumble if it happens, or choose anyone over Him.
Earlier we spoke about waiting and watching. Watching means you’re looking for and into the signs of Christ’s return – proactively. Have you noticed the times we’re living in? It’s the Times of the Signs – we see them everywhere. The religious leaders missed His First Coming, and I have a hunch a lot of religious folk are gonna miss His Second Coming. “O Lord, please help me to always be ready.”
In spite of all that God had done for Israel (they had tasted of His goodness) it didn’t matter, they tested Him who loved them.
They turned their backs on God, were unfaithful to Him, they turned aside and provoked Him to anger, moved Him to jealousy by serving other gods.
If only we would stay true to our Maker and Maintainer. Why do our hearts so easily drift? This Psalm is the history of Israel – may we learn from their tragic mistakes.
God was furious with the the nation, He forsook the tabernacle, and delivered His people into bondage. He gave His people over to the sword, the young men died, the maidens were not married, the priests even fell, and their widows made no lamentation.
Sometimes I think we have this misconception that no evil can befall us, but that’s not true, for if we forsake the Lord, we bring it upon ourselves and anything is possible.
The book of Hebrews was written to a church that was falling back into their old ways; listen to what he wrote:
Hebrews 10:31 (NKJV) “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV) “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.””
Have you ever had to hold on to something for life? This must be our mentality with Jesus. May we hold tight lest we fall away or draw back. On the contrary may we grow forward.
The Proverbs frequently emphasize the importance of hard work, and here once again we see that notion with promotion. The lazy man is the man who only works when he’s pushed and forced to work, when he’s watched by his supervisors. They usually don’t rise in the ranks.
Let’s make it a point to be the best employees of all, and the best workers for the Lord Himself.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.